This September, I’m attending a really cool photography conference, and I am beyond excited. But, just to add a little bit more stress to the idea of going to an event where I won’t know a soul, I also signed up to do something really scary. I scheduled my first-ever professional photo session. No, not my first client … my first “I need to pay someone to treat me like a queen, give me a makeover, and take photos of me that are going to make me feel FANTASTIC!”
And I’m terrified.
It’s crazy, I know. I’m usually the one telling clients that they are beautiful exactly as they are … that we will work together to capture photos they will love … that we will make the experience fun … that they should trust me.
I’m think I’m beginning to understand why they look at me like I’m crazy.
I just read an article about a family portrait photographer, and one of his quotes really stuck with me. When talking about his Roadside Families series, Cooper stated that “I want people to look dated and I want them to age fast.” (Rangefinder, John Michael Cooper Captures Other Photographers and Their Families for Special Print Project, February 12, 2018).
I’d never really thought about that before, but I kind of love it.
As a portrait photographer, I help people tell their stories. I capture a moment, a memory, an image, a goal.
With families, that story is entirely about love. Often, it includes laughter and sometimes a bit of angst (“are we DONE yet?!?!”). It can be gooey or it can refined; silly or formal. Sometimes, it can even be a little sad. Whatever the mood, I do not have a role in the story … I am just there to help it unfold.
Until, once in a blue moon, there I am. Not in the middle of it, but noticeably on the periphery … if you’re looking.
What happens when a client’s story becomes so big that people begin to notice I’m a part of it? My role is tiny. A speck. Unimportant. But people ask how I got there. How it happened. Is that really me?
When I was in tech, I used to laugh at how often we rebranded. I couldn’t understand this constant need to reinvent the company. I scoffed at how different colors or swooshes or taglines could make a difference when the software stayed the same.
Now I’m a photographer and I own my own business. Scratch that. According to Santa Clara County and the State of California, I own THREE businesses.
Touché tech world, touché!